Ecodecalogue

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By MICHAEL LÖWY*

Ten commandments to save life on this planet

The author of these notes does not consider himself a new Moses and does not consider himself to have received this Ecodecalogue from Jehovah. It is simply an attempt to answer, with a touch of irony, in two brief pages, the question that many are asking themselves today: what to do? What to do in the face of the ecological crisis and climate catastrophe?

(i) You will take the ecological crisis seriously. It is not just one problem among many, it is the most important political, economic, social and moral issue of the XNUMXst century. It's a matter of life and death. Our common home burns with fire. There is no time to lose. Do you have other concerns? Are you rightly worried about the price of gasoline and gas and are you unfairly worried about the large number of Arabs, blacks, gypsies, Jews, Mexicans and gays in your country? You have to modify your concerns. The climate crisis is more serious. Much more serious? Infinitely worse. It is about your survival and/or that of your children and grandchildren.

(ii) Thou shalt not worship the idols of the capitalist religion: “Market economy”, “Fossil energies”, “GDP growth”, “World Trade Organization”, “International Monetary Fund”, “Competitiveness”, “Debt repayment” , etc. These are false gods, greedy for human sacrifice and responsible for global warming.

(iii) You will act in accordance with ecological principles on a daily basis. Thou shalt refuse travel by air over distances covered by rail. You will drastically reduce your meat consumption. You will avoid the traps of consumerism. You will be aware of the interdependence of all living beings and will act with prudence and respect for nature. But you will reject the illusions of “hummingbirdism”: the belief that ecological change will result from the sum of small individual actions.

(iv) You will support collective actions, for example, any concrete ecological struggle, in your country and in the world. Depending on the case, you will opt for street demonstrations, acts of civil disobedience, ZADs [Zones to Defend], sabotage of oil pipelines. You will participate in or support movements, NGOs, etc. who fight for ecological causes, favoring the most radical ones.

(v) Thou shalt never oppose the social and the ecological. You will try, by all means, to favor the convergence between social and ecological struggles. You will act to guarantee alternative jobs for workers in polluting companies, which must close. You will try to bring unions and ecological movements together.

(vi) You will be in solidarity, militantly and/or financially, with climate refugees and victims of ecological catastrophes. You will demand that your country's borders be opened to them and that the rich countries of the North compensate the poor countries of the South for the damage caused by climate change.

(vii) You will fight relentlessly against ecocidal and/or climate denying politicians, Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Scott Morrison and co. All means are good for dislodging them, exchanging them, neutralizing them.

(viii) You will reject your support of those who invoke the name of ecology in vain. That is, politicians who make beautiful speeches but do not act against emissions and fossil fuels. Or that they propose false solutions such as “emissions rights”, “compensation mechanisms” and other mystifications of green capitalism and greenwashing.

(ix) You will fight, by all means, the companies of the fossil oligarchy, that is, the enormous economic-financial-political-military complex linked to fossil energies: oil, coal, gas. You will fight for its expropriation and for the creation of a public energy service, resolutely oriented towards renewable energies (solar, wind, water, etc.) and capable of offering free services to the popular classes.

(x) Knowing that the problem is systemic and that, consequently, no real solution will be possible within the framework of capitalism, you will participate, in one way or another, in parties or movements that propose anti-capitalist alternatives: ecosocialism, social ecology, degrowth, etc. .

*Michael Lowy is director of research in sociology at Center nationale de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). Author, among other books, of What is Ecosocialism?Cortez).

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves.


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